DATE POSTED Sunday, 2022-01-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
SCRIPTURE FROM: Matthew 5:43-48
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)
BIBLE TEXT: 43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46 If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. 47 If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.
APPLICATION: Hopefully we recognized the truth in what Jesus said in His explanation of how humans tend to love others. This requires us setting aside the ideals of how we know we should love others, compared to what we actually do. It is very challenging for us to think of loving the one who hurt us, or mistreated us in some obvious way, or who may have even deliberately hurt us. I know of a real-life story of two workers who, in spite of working on many projects together, they often felt differently about certain subjects, and although they often accomplished the same tasks differently, yet they enjoyed the success of completing tasks accurately. During one of their disagreements on a subject, one of them brought the company president in to understand why they felt the other was wrong. The boss didn’t fire the one accused of doing their job inaccurately, but this appeared to have deepened the rift between the two workers. However, just as this Scripture might do to you as a reader searching for God’s will for your life, the individual who felt wronged, was touched by a sermon one Sunday and God impressed this Scripture upon them. Pray for the individual you feel wronged you, even though you feel they may have done it to cause you harm. Each day there was sincere prayer for the other party and for their success in the company. Apparently the two went on to be great friends and compassionate coworkers! It is virtually impossible to hate someone that you earnestly pray for in a positive manner! I believe that Jesus wants us to be the kind of people where others might look on in wonder and question how we could do what seems impossible to the ordinary person. Hopefully their minds will turn towards Jesus and they will praise Him for working through His children to achieve that which seems impossible to mankind of their own accord, desires and abilities. Friends, I hope that as you meditated on this with me today, you may have gotten a glimpse of how Jesus not only set the example for us in what He said and did while here on earth, but also how He is still able to work in His children to help them achieve all that He did. As the world sees the difference in us, may they recognize that it is Jesus at work in us that helps us reach for new heights and imitate our Father which is in heaven.
BLESSING(S) NOTED: It takes Jesus and us to love those who hate us or despise us or who aim to destroy us. But in loving even them, we allow them to catch a glimpse of our Master working miraculously through us!
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for recognizing how challenging it is for us to love those who love and respect us, and especially those who make it impossible to love them of our own accord. Only You Lord can save us from our sins, and only You can give us the power, strength and wisdom to overcome the evil of this world that is often out to pull us down and separate us from the blessings You have in store for us. Draw us to Yourself each and every day Lord and as You prepare our day, may we be humble and willing to seek Your face as You work out Your perfect will for us. Oh that others may see, acknowledge and receive You as Lord of their life, especially after seeing You at work in us. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!